Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A problem of our times: Oversharing at the office

This has probably happened at least once to anyone who's ever worked in an office. Whether it is talking about weekend exploits (or lack thereof), their love life (or lack thereof) or some unknown hobby that should have remained unspoken, people get comfortable around their co-workers and sometimes share more than those co-workers would like to know (e.g. I once had a co-worker who we learned over lunch one day, was into illegal, night-time drag racing. True story. I guess he liked to live his life a quarter-mile at a time.). Not everyone can keep their personal business as secret as Don Draper.

Say it with me one time, too much information.

The Wall Street Journal weights in on this topic: 'Oversharing' Invades the Office
Patti Sweeney and a dozen of her coworkers recently went out to lunch to celebrate the completion of a project. Over burgers and salads, they chitchatted about their work, their families and their hobbies.
One colleague mentioned that he was training for a 20-mile bike race, adding that he had just purchased a new helmet and Lycra shorts. To the group's mortification, Ms. Sweeney says, he then described shaving his entire body to reduce aerodynamic drag.
"Why, why, why do we need to go there?" says Ms. Sweeney, a 36-year-old financial analyst for a communications company who lives in Bartlett, Ill. "This is information about a coworker, not someone I really consider a friend, and now it's forever burned in my brain."
It's official: The TMI phenomenon—as in "too much information"—has invaded the workplace. You can thank reality TV and social-networking Web sites for creating a culture where people are encouraged to share every sordid—or boring—detail of their lives. They have desensitized us to the idea that some things are meant to be private.
But we have to take responsibility, too, for mistaking our coworkers for friends. It's understandable, as the line between office and home has blurred in recent years. We work more now, so we spend more time with our colleagues and clients, sometimes more than we spend with our families or friends, and we socialize with them outside of work. 
Click here to read the rest of the article. 

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